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Summary

In his New York Times best-selling chronicle of military life, Anthony Swofford weaves his experiences in war with vivid accounts of boot camp, reflections on the mythos of the marines, and remembrances of battles with lovers and family.

When the U.S. Marines, or "jarheads", were sent to Saudi Arabia in 1990 for the first Gulf War, Anthony Swofford was there. He lived in sand for six months; he was punished by boredom and fear; he considered suicide, pulled a gun on a fellow marine, and was targeted by both enemy and friendly fire. As engagement with the Iraqis drew near, he was forced to consider what it means to be an American, a soldier, a son of a soldier, and a man.

©2003 Anthony Swofford (P)2003 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division.

Critic reviews

"A searing contribution to the literature of combat." ( The New York Times)
"This book offers...the casual reader, an unflinching portrayal of the loneliness and brutality of modern warfare and sophisticated analyses of, and visceral reactions to, its politics." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Susan C. Jones
  • 10-10-05

Candid view of a marine and modern war

I read the print version of this book and enjoyed it. It was refreshing to get a broad view, with good and bad, beyond the soundbites or agenda of other media. I was especially surprised at how open the author was about many personal aspects of marine life and life in the middle of a war. Also, I found it more thoughful and articulate that I initally suspected. I recommended it to a friend who has a son in the Marines to give him some flavor that he may not hear otherwise.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Carter B. Mills
  • 16-03-06

Good writing

Anthony Swofford should not have read his own book. That's my only problem with this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • 30-12-05

Too much unnecessary profanity

Story is interesting and probably quite accurate, based on my years in the Marine Corps. The focus on sex and profanity is carried to the extreme of detracting from the Marine's experiences told in the book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Leonard
  • 03-11-05

Less than expected.

This book dragged. If you are looking for excitement keep looking. If you have been in the "Suck" you'll find a few moment where your personal reflections and experiences will make you laugh out loud. Other than that you'll listen to one man's view of his down time leading up to the war. The narrator is good for putting you to sleep that?s the best I can say.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Christy
  • 12-11-05

Off to see the Wizard...

The author displays some serious mental instabilities and comes across like a poster child for deviant behavior. He compares killing to eroticism, something a serial killer might do. He fantasizes about raping and stealing.
Don't get the wrong idea about Marines from this book-the average Marine, me included, respect our Corps, country, and family. That being said: I am very disappointed in the attention this book has received; it is nauseating. Save your time and money.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • 25-10-05

Psycho

Written as a Phych ward rehab project. I've been there and done that and this guy was over the edge before he ever walked into Basic.

His Gunny would have had him our on a "General Discharge for the Good of the Corps" before he'd been in 6 months.

It even sounds fake to me.

20 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-06-18

do or die

love this book. jumps around to different events in time but good insight. poetic. not entirely like the movie

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • robert
  • 11-06-18

Great writing

Unfortunately, this will never be a classic, too profane. But some of the writing is world class. However Swofford needs to learn more about depression and suicide.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 16-03-18

poor reading

he seems uninterested in his own book. the material was good but I couldn't finish due to the reading.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • steve brogren
  • 30-01-18

good, but rambling

hard to listen to, he starts rambling and you tune out, then you hear something interesting and need to rewind.
interesting though that almost everything in the movie was true.